Morocco bus crash kills 17; in Tunisia death toll rises to 26

RABAT/TUNIS, Dec 3 (NNN-AGENCIES) — A bus crash in northern Morocco killed 17 people as the vehicle overturned, the health ministry said, in the
second such accident in North Africa the same day.

The bus crashed on Sunday near Taza, a town between the Rif and Atlas
mountains, local authorities said, with the cause of the accident unclear.

The ministry said the death toll had risen to 17, while 36 others were
injured.

An investigation was opened into the accident at Taza, 120 kilometres east of Fez, authorities said.

Public television 2M tweeted a photograph of the bus’s interior reduced to
a mass of metal.

Nearly 3,500 people die each year in road accidents in Morocco, a country
of 35 million people.

The government has launched several road safety campaigns, particularly in the wake of the kingdom’s worst ever bus accident which left 42 dead in 2012.

A National Road Safety Strategy aims to halve the number of accidents in
Morocco by 2026.

Elsewhere in North Africa, a bus crash in Tunisia also Sunday killed at
least 26 people as the vehicle plunged into a ravine in the mountainous
northwest.

The health ministry said that 17 people were also injured in the
accident in a mountainous region popular with Tunisian tourists.

The accident was one of the deadliest ever in a country whose poor road
safety record has sparked criticism of officials.

All those aboard the bus were Tunisian, the ministry said.

The age of the vehicle, more than 20 years old, and speeding were the
suspected causes, a minister, Noureddine Selmi, told state television after
an initial investigation.

The bus had set off from Tunis towards the picturesque northern mountain
town of Ain Draham, a popular autumn destination for domestic visitors.

The interior ministry had initially reported the deaths of 22 out of the
43 people on board, saying the bus had “fallen into a ravine after crashing
through an iron barrier”.

The health ministry said four more passengers had died of their injuries.

President Kais Saied and outgoing Prime Minister Youssef Chahed both
visited the site hours after the tragedy.

Tunisia’s poorly-maintained roads have a reputation for being deadly.
Almost 1,100 people died in traffic accidents in 2018, according to a
national observatory on road security.

The World Health Organization in 2015 reported that Tunisia had the
second-worst road death rate per capita in North Africa, behind only war-torn Libya. — NNN-AGENCIES